The Department of Energy oversees nuclear weapons sites and subsidizes conventional and alternative fuels. The department has a history of fiscal and environmental mismanagement. Furthermore, misguided energy regulations have caused large losses to consumers and the broader economy over the decades.
The department will spend $27 billion in 2016, or $220 for every U.S. household. After adjusting for inflation, spending has increased 30 percent since 2000. The department employs 16,000 workers directly and oversees about 100,000 contract workers at research facilities across the nation.
- Energy Subsidies. The department has spent billions of dollars over the decades on dead-end schemes and dubious projects that have often had large cost overruns.
- Ethanol and Biofuel Policies. The government subsidizes biofuels, such as corn ethanol, and imposes a mandate to blend biofuels into gasoline and diesel fuel. These policies impose costs on taxpayers and motorists, while raising food prices and harming the environment.
- A Brief History of Energy Regulations. Most federal intrusions into energy markets have been serious mistakes. They have destabilized markets, reduced domestic output, and decreased consumer welfare.
- Energy Intervention Today. The current arguments for energy intervention and energy subsidies fall short.
Reagan administration energy plan, 1981